Pilgrimage to the Miraculous “Eyes of Father Antonio Margil de Jesus”

May 4, 2021

Sacred Heart Church- Nacogdoches, Texas

On April 24th 2021, members of TFP –Texas joined several Catholic families from Tyler, Texas for a pilgrimage to a little known miraculous site in Nacogdoches, Texas;  the “Eyes of Fr. Margil de Jesus”.

The day began with a Traditional Latin Mass in the historic Sacred Heart Chapel, a reproduction of an historical Catholic Church in the Nacogdoches area from 1847. After nourishing their souls, the pilgrims shared a picnic lunch on the church grounds under a beautiful Texas sky.

A brief explanation of the story of Fr. Margil, his missions and his miracles was then given by Mr. Cesar Franco:  In 1717 a severe drought struck East Texas, killing crops, draining the Lanana Creek nearly dry, and causing many of the natives to leave the mission. This continued into the summer of the next year, the state of the mission growing worse with every passing day. At last, distressed by the loss of his flock, Father Margil was caught up in an ecstasy.

 He took his staff and began to walk up the creek, a crowd following behind him. He stopped at a bend in its course, gazing at an overhanging rock shelf. The others watched as he struck the tall creek bank twice with his staff, and each time a steam of water gushed forth. From those two spouts the whole creek was filled again, the crops began to recover, and the Indians found the inspiration to stay at the mission. The springs became known as Los Ojos de Padre Margil—the Eyes of Father Margil.

The pilgrims praying the rosary en route to the springs.

With this, the reason for the pilgrimage was made clear; rather than just being a chance to take a nice walk and spend time together; revival of devotion to Fr. Margil was the primary objective.

Everyone drove from the church to the trail-head close by. Nestled humbly behind the Stephen F. Austin Technical Support building on East Austin Street, the trail begins with a boardwalk over marshy land, then through various wooded areas, under bridges, through public parks and across the Lanana creek. The entire length of the route is just short of two and a half miles.

What an unexpected sight it must have been for those driving by, playing soccer and lounging in the parks to see 45 young, well dressed Catholics praying the rosary on their way to the miraculous springs.

The Eyes of Father Margil

If it were not for a few small signs to mark the springs, it would be easy to miss them as they are not kept up by the state. What were once large, flowing springs capable of filling the Lanana creek are now only small, trickling basins.

All arrived at the springs in good spirits. After singing songs and saying prayers of thanksgiving, everyone blessed themselves and filled their long emptied water bottles from the springs. There were lively conversations afterwards as the pilgrims waited for the vans to arrive. Everyone expressed their gratitude for being invited to such a blessed event as they began the hour and a half drive back to Tyler.

The site of the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Mission

Those who remained sought out the site of one of Fr. Margil’s missions after dinner at a local restaurant. The ‘Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe’ mission, founded in 1716, unfortunately no longer stands. Now, only a large stone marker in front of an Auto Zone remains as a tribute to his work.


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